Denver sheriff exonerated for abusive behavior at deputy’s funeral

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Denver Sheriff Diggins

DENVER (KDVR) — An internal affairs investigation has exonerated Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins for abusive behavior at the memorial service of a fallen deputy.

Thirty-three-year-old Daniel Trujillo died from COVID in May. His best friend and fellow deputy Spencer Haswell filed a complaint June 15 “alleging that Sheriff Diggins was unprofessional and verbally abused him after the memorial.”

Deputy Daniel Trujillo

At the June 9 memorial service, Haswell presented the flag to Trujillo’s widow even though it had been anticipated that Haswell would only fold the flag and then give it to Diggins, to then hand it to Trujillo’s widow.

Haswell told an internal affairs investigator that two of his superiors told him they had been “chewed out” by the sheriff for what Haswell did. Soon thereafter, Haswell said “Sheriff Diggins approached and stood on his tip toes, which Deputy Haswell viewed as an attempt to show power or bully him.”  In addition he said the sheriff told him, “Well I can see that you are grieving right now Deputy Haswell. We can talk about this later. But don’t worry, I have something that I can do.”

Two other deputies interviewed by an internal affairs investigator confirmed that Diggins was “visibly upset” but did not yell and one of the witnesses said Diggins appeared to hug Haswell to comfort him.

In a Department Determination of Discipline letter signed by the Department of Safety’s Chief Deputy Executive Director Mary Dulacki, she wrote, “Other than Deputy Haswell’s complaint, there is no evidence from any other witnesses that Sheriff Diggins was abusive toward Deputy Haswell following the memorial. There is a preponderance of evidence that Sheriff Diggins comforted Deputy Haswell, as opposed to abused him. A finding of Exonerated is entered into this specification.”

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